Maurizio Sarri

Maurizio Sarri
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Maurizio Sarri

Current Club / Country: Chelsea

Previous Clubs/Countries: SSC Napoli, Empoli, Sorrento, Alessandria, Grosseto, Perugia, Hellas Verona, Avellino, Arezzo, Pescara, Sangiovannese, AC Sansovino.

Honours: N/A.

Sarri has had a long, hard road to get himself to a club with serious title expectations, having never played professional football, he had to climb his way up from the bottom of the pile. Sarri was actually a banker, who gave up a safe, well-paid, job to go into the crazy world of football management, applying himself with the kind of dedication that Marcelo Bielsa is known for. After gradually moving his way up the football pyramid, he took charge of Empoli in Serie B, took them into Serie A and kept them there, earning himself a chance with Napoli.

It was at Napoli that he came to the attention of the wider public, with his passing football putting the team into contention for Serie A, Juventus's only genuine challenge in years. However, when it mattered his team folded and lost just as they held it all in their own hands, which is a worrying thing about Sarri. His honours are non-existent, though he has had limited chances to win them, there have still been some golden opportunities squandered, not least last season's Serie A.

This is a manager who has his own 'Sarriball' style and refuses to sacrifice it for anyone or anything. Sarri is dedicated to his beliefs in the way football has to be played, though it could be said that he is stuck in his ways and refuses to compromise, even when needed. When Plan A fails, Plan B is simply to do Plan A better.

He will shoehorn players into the system in the short term, coaching them to play it and look to buy players to fit his ideas in the long term. Sarri likes a big, mobile target man up front, someone to build the play from, as well as liking a link player at the base of midfield whose sole job is to keep the ball moving quickly. That means there is little creativity in midfield and they can be put under enormous pressure when that midfield is pressed. Pressure that his teams have historically failed to deal with.

The worrying thing is that the closest he came to winning trophies was when he lost out on having the players he wanted for his system, through injuries and transfers, and got lucky with a struggling winger being converted to a striker. Dries Mertens may have pulled him through there at Napoli but that was clearly in large part down to a huge slice of luck as trying to repeat the trick with Eden Hazard has not worked at all.

On the plus side, Sarri is a paternal kind of character who tends to build close-ish relationships with players, more of the arm round the shoulder that the modern day player prefers than the confrontational approach of an old-school manager. That means he can often get players to perform beyond their usual level, as was shown by Higuain when he was at Napoli. Players play for him and enjoy working with him, so he has the potential to build long term success with Chelsea.

While he is known for being a good coach, it is the tactical side that could well cost him, as his desire to play the same way no matter what means he very rarely makes game-changing subs. Sarri tends to make substitutions that are like-for-like. It is only in times of desperate measures that he will look to change things up or switch systems. Otherwise it is 4 at the back, one sitting in front, and 4 behind a lone striker, home or away, in the league or the cups, rain or shine. Sarri will need to overcome that final hurdle and win some trophies with Chelsea, and fairly quickly, or we will not get to find out whether he can build long term success there.

Requested by .eden.